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Another Solid Reimagining
Posted March 16, 2012
By SarahFine_NRT, Staff Reviewer

It’s rarity that a remix album of any sort goes on to achieve a high amount of success. Typically, they’re a nonchalant side project an artist releases in between albums to offer a fresh take on some of their staple songs. They hardly sell well, are never played on radio and if anything, mainly go on become a collectors piece for diehard fans to enjoy.

And then you have tobyMac, whose 20-years-plus career in music has been anything but “typical.”  

Back in 2003, he released ReMix:Momentum, taking songs off his first solo effort, Momentum, and giving them the tobyMac treatment with a funky, fresh edge. The album was a hit and the remix of “Love Is In The House” became a favorite among fans, even incorporating it into his live show for a number of years.

Having found a niche, a sequel titled Renovating Diverse City, came a few years later, taking the same approach by remixing songs off his critically acclaimed Welcome To Diverse City album. Again, the album found a large amount of success and the New Wave remix of his song “Burn For You,” became one of the most played CHR songs of 2005.
Fans were surprised when two more studio albums went by without the release of another remix project. It had become a custom they’d grown to love. Unlike so many of his fellow artists, Toby’s approach to his remix albums comes differently. Not wanting to offer up the same songs for a second time, he likes to take the music he’s already created and serve it up in a way that makes it almost unrecognizable to the listeners, becoming in a way, a whole new album.

After seven years, his first full length remix effort, Dubbed & Freq’d--taking popular songs from 2007’s Portable Sounds and 2010’s Tonight--is coming as a much-awaited and welcomed treat to longtime listeners.

Made To Love (Telemitry Remix)” starts the party off on a quirky note, making the move nicely into another fan favorite, a club infectious and fun version of “No Ordinary Love (G- Man Remix.)” A stellar retelling of one of Toby’s newest tunes, “Showstopper (Capital Kings Remix) comes next and serves as my favorite mix on the record. Taking the best parts of the original version and highlighting them against an irresistible dance track.

City On Our Knees (Golden Snax Remix)” is one of the more original mixes on the record, and one that fans of mainstream artists such as Usher and Bruno Mars will love. “Tonight (Capital Kings Remix)” would fair well in a club setting, although the guest vocals from Skillet’s John Cooper found on the original are sorely missed.

Hold On (Telemitry Remix)” offers an underlying island vibe, while “Get Back Up (Broke Remix) sounds almost too much like the album version, but is still a fun effort nonetheless. “Boomin’ (UTB Remix) takes one of Toby’s most beloved rock songs and gives it an eerie vibe with the addition of some synth strings in the beat, also a welcomed treat, is a guest rap from former Diverse City band member Shonlock.

Lose My Soul (Shoc Remix),” remixed by none other than Jack “Shoc” Shocklee (producer and husband to rising CCM artist, Beckah Shae) will become yet another favorite, taking one of tobyMac’s most soulful songs and carefully shuffling it into a hip-hop lover’s dream.

The darker “Captured (KP Remix)” brings the focus back onto the lyrics of one of his most worshipful songs, and goes nicely into “Ignition (Hot Wired Remix.)” This mix first appeared as the theme song to Toby’s video blog several years back with a multitude of fans soon asking for it to be released on an album. They’ll enjoy hearing it again. Taking this project home is the utterly chaotic “Start Somewhere (X-Zach’d Remix.)” In true tobyMac fashion, it‘s an electrifying way to go out, and brings to an end an eclectic and lively remix record.

Closing Thoughts:
I’m skeptical when it comes to remix albums. It must offer a batch of killer makeovers to win me over, and very few have achieved this. When it comes to tobyMac’s remix projects however, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised, which is exactly case with tobyMac’s Dubbed & Freq’d. While not as a strong as his two previous remix efforts, it once again brings to light the creative genius tobyMac is known for in his music. It’s a fun and upbeat record fans will love and I hope to see dance radio eat it up.

If you’re new to the music of tobyMac, this probably isn’t the best place to start, his Tonight album painting a much clearer picture for you, but if you’re familiar with the music and are interested in hearing it in a fresh new way, look no further… and prepare to be freaked.

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